Lily Toy Hong has lived most of her life in Salt Lake City. She grew up in a large Chinese-American family, the seventh of nine children, and says that she always knew she wanted to write and illustrate children's books when she grew up.
After studying art at Utah Technical College and Utah State University, Hong worked for three years as an illustrator for a greeting card company before becoming a free-lance designer and illustrator. "How the Ox Star Fell from Heaven" is her first published book.Hong got the idea for the picture book after she did an illustration of oxen for a college assignment. Later, when she discovered the folk tale on which the story is based, she expanded the illustration into a picture book. The final illustrations were done in gouache and airbrushed acrylics.
Besides working on her art, Hong enjoys learning more about Chinese culture and eating rice every day.