Debi Derryberry may sound like a cartoon name and ironically, she is the voice of one of Nickelodeon’s most famous characters—Jimmy Neutron. “I love Jimmy Neutron,” Debi tells HMC. “I like that he’s confident enough that it doesn’t bother him that he’s a little nerdy. I also love that the focus of the show isn’t violent or foul.”
When Jimmy Neutron work isn’t keeping Debi busy, she also voices Gnocchi from Curious George, Weenie from Oswald the Octopus, and Clay on Playhouse Disney, just to name a few.
As if that isn’t keeping her busy enough, this mom of a seven year old is an author and performer. The book The Adventures of Baby Banana and the Licorice Tree, and her second CD Very DerryBerry, have hit book stores. Already, Debi started on her tour, performing at local bookstores around the country.
“I love to perform,” exclaims Debi as she adds along with playing for fans she, “would love to perform for celebrity birthday parties.”
Voice-over work, CD recordings, writing children’s books–how does she juggle her busy schedule (she’s up at 530a everyday and has fed the chickens, done laundry, and packed her son’s lunch all before 7a)? A couple of things—she works from home and her mom lives next door. “This helps so much and I am so glad we’re going back to this.” Debi says. “We in the United States seemed to get away from the multigenerational living, but now we seem to be going back to it.”
Not only does it offer great support, but it’s less money for travel and Debi reports she has more time to travel other places, such as for her tour that kicked off in San Diego, September 6th. “I love this project. It’s a new direction for me the music and the book. It talks about how important family is.”
Even though her work is for kids, Debi said she was a “bit clueless and out of the fold” when it came to children before she had her son. After he arrived, she experienced an unexpected change in herself.
“I didn’t anticipate the explosion of love in my heart. It may sound corny, but it’s true.” Debi says she can sit there and stare at her son play. “I think ‘this is a good as it gets.’”
Another thing that changed in her life occurred in the form of time. “My priorities changed.” One of her many projects was animal rescue. She reports before her son arrived, she volunteered many hours as an animal rescuer. “I’d spend hours helping place animals. I’d stop on the freeway to rescue a dog.”
Now, she spends more time teaching her son to appreciate animals at their home. “He helps with the animals here and he’s great with them.”
Debi still wanted to help animals and found a way to do it where she can combine two of her loves–animal rescue experience and parenting.
Debi is also the spokesperson for the website Safetyarounddogs.org “to help parents understand how to teach kids to be safe around animals.”
Author Note: It’s important. When I worked as a pediatric trauma nurse, I would see so many children bitten by the family dog, some with horrible outcomes.
Debi adds, “I’ve heard so many parents say ‘but he’s never bitten anyone before’ after the child is injured. Our website explains to parents the best way to teach a child to treat a dog and how to approach a dog.”
An animal lover, a mom, wife, and true performer. Could you ask for more?
Check out Debi on tour or her book at your local bookstore. And will it be fun for kids and parents alike?
As Jimmy Neutron would say, “Well, the data seems to support that hypothesis.”
If you are interested in more children’s books, check out Kimberly Williams-Paisley and how she’s gotten kids to eat their veggies with her book Henry and the Hidden Vegetable Garden.