This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Deltora Quest.
Summary from wiki:
The first series of Deltora Quest follows the journeys of Lief, the son of a humble blacksmith, who, on his sixteenth birthday, sets out to fulfill his fathers quest to restore the Belt of Deltora. Joining Lief is an ex-palace guard named Barda. Along the way they meet with Jasmine: a wild child of the Forests of Silence, who has long, black hair and emerald eyes. She can speak to trees and has two pets: a raven named Kree and a small, gray, furry creature called Filli. Their quest is to find the seven gems of the fabled Belt of Deltora: the topaz, the ruby, the opal, the lapis lazuli, the emerald, the amethyst, and the diamond. The gems each have a special power and are hidden in dangerous locations around Deltora. The three friends must face numerous perils to reach them.
These books were my foray into fantasy. It was exciting and stretched my imagination. It is the reason for my other obsession with gemstones. And again, the raven. There was this girl in my class whom I idolised because her name was Jasmine. It was the first time, through Jasmine, that I was slowly being introduced to female characters who were assertive and strong, qualities that I didn’t have at that young age. It was the books that sparked my interest in adventures and nature and is probably why I, today, love going for hikes in forests and mountains. I also believe it’s the books that got me writing in the first place. It’s funny because I’m kind of getting emotional (I’m usually very emotional :P) just thinking about all of this… but, I mean, isn’t just so amazing? How, if you dig deep enough into your memories, you find the little moments or things in your life, books or otherwise, that have helped shaped the person you are now?