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This joyous song about being ‘weird’ went viral. Now it’s a children’s book

“The song can cure world sadness, I’m sure of it,” one fan wrote.
/ Source: TODAY

We've been jamming to "If I Were a Fish," a song that went viral on TikTok for its feel-good message, all year long. Now kids can read the uplifting lyrics in a new book.

The earworm was written in April by Nashville-based singer-songwriters corook (whose real name is Corinne Savage) and Olivia Barton, during what corook describes as "a very emotional day." Almost 19 million views later, "If I Were A Fish" is now a picture book, released on Dec. 5 by Feiwel & Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.

Barton and corook tell that writing the hit song just sort of happened.

"(That day), I had excitedly posted a TikTok video promoting one of my songs and people commented that I was 'cringe' and that the song was bad,'" corook tells

The internet punch confirmed one of corook's deepest insecurities: Not fitting in.

"I asked Olivia, 'Why am I so weird?'" says corook, who uses they/them pronouns. "She said, 'I love that you're weird — let's make a joyous song about it.'"

"The things that other people don’t understand about Corinne make them who they are and really special," says Barton.

Corook recalls blurting out what would become the heart of the song: "If I were a fish, they would love me."

(L-R): Singers Olivia Barton and corook wrote a children's book based on their viral song, "If I Were a Fish."
(L-R): Singers Olivia Barton and corook wrote a children's book based on their viral song, "If I Were a Fish." Courtesy Seth Kallen

Barton started banging on the keyboard — an instrument she hardly knew how to play — and the two "screamed back and forth at each other" until they solidified the song lyrics:  

"If I were a fish and you caught me

You’d say 'Look at that fish'

Shimmering in the sun

Such a rare one

Can’t believe that you caught one

If I were a fish and you caught me

You’d say look at that fish

Heaviest in the sea

You’d win first prize

If you caught me

Why’s everybody on the internet so mean?

Why’s everybody so afraid of what they’ve never seen?

If I was scrolling through and I saw me

Flopping around and singing my song

I’d say 'Damn, they’re cute' and sing along ...."

"If I Were A Fish" is a new children's book by singers corook and Olivia Barton.
"If I Were A Fish" is a new children's book by singers corook and Olivia Barton.Courtesy Seth Kallen

The musicians posted a video of the 49-second song to TikTok where viewers shared their adoration, writing comments like, "The song can cure world sadness, I'm sure of it," and "If happiness and comfort was a song."

"This song has carried me through a very difficult day," one person exclaimed in the comments section. "Thank you so much for this joy."

The song, which the duo later lengthened with additional lyrics and a music video, spread into classrooms and homes, becoming a hit for kids.

As one mom captioned an appreciation video on TikTok: "I cannot wait to sing this song to my baby daughter until she believes every single word because we are breaking cycles over here!!"

Teachers also posted TikTok videos of their students singing "If I Were A Fish."

One preschool educator declared the song "our new classroom anthem" while an elementary school choir teacher wrote in her sing-along video, "My little babies loved this as their warm-up today."

A mother filmed her son's blind reaction to hearing the song ("Is she talking about me?") on the way to school. "A song like this is an incredible way to remind him he's perfect just the way he is," she wrote in the caption.

A commenter responded, "My daughter screaming this song in the car had healed a part of me I didn't know existed."

"Seeing all the videos of kids made us cry the most," Barton shares.

It struck an emotional cord for corook, who has been thinking about her own childhood.

"I really wish that when I was a kid, I had somebody to look at who stuck out a little more, who was so deeply themselves and who wasn’t afraid to stick out," add corook. "I could have accepted that I was a little different and loved myself because of it."

The singers are excited for families to read the book with children who are specifically struggling with self-esteem.

"It can make a huge difference," says Barton. "The parents who want (self-acceptance) for their kids are the best parents in the world."