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Local author Toy Kay releases new autobiographical picture book

Noted local Chinese American elder, Toy Kay, has released her new book, An American Picture Bride, an autobiography written with Janine Gates.

A book launch party will be held Sunday, March 11, 2018, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., at The Firs, 426 Lilly Road NE, Olympia. The public is invited. Books will be available for purchase and refreshments will be served.

An American Picture Bride is the story of Toy Kay, 93, of Olympia. Born in Butte, Montana, she was raised as a daughter of the late 1800s Qing Dynasty of China.

Painfully shy and programmed to be an obedient wife, Toy married Bill Kay in an arranged marriage in 1941. Toy was 16 when Bill brought her to Olympia, Washington. She started work the very next day at the Kay family restaurant, Kay’s Café, and worked there for 33 years.

Toy’s story is one of personal and spiritual transformation. She founded the Olympia Area Chinese Association and was active in several community service organizations. For her efforts, Toy received the Living Legend Award of Thurston County in 2003.

Janine Gates is a freelance journalist, photographer, and caregiver for seniors in Olympia, Washington. She writes a community news blog, Little Hollywood, at, and serves on the board of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum.

To purchase the book, go to

More information about upcoming speaking engagements will be posted at

One Comment

  1. Cynthia Wolfe April 28, 2019

    Loved this book about a Chinese woman who is part of the history of Montana and of Washington state! Her authentic story of a life over 90 years-long, as a daughter, wife, mother, and finally business woman who took ownership of her own life, is fascinating and

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